Craig choir to sing at White House

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Friday, December 15, 2017

JANESVILLE—A white Christmas while visiting the White House.

It’s difficult to predict the chances of the first, but the second is a certainty.

On Tuesday, 12 Craig High School students will sing at the White House, thanks to the support of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s office and a recommendation from Janesville Performing Arts Center Executive Director Nathan Burkart.

“I’m thrilled,” said Lauren Sherman, one of the students making the trip. “It’s a crazy cool opportunity.”

The group will be led by Adam Miller, Craig music teacher and Spotlighters Show Choir director.

“It’s pretty rare to be able to go,” Miller said.

Tuesday is a Christmas open house at the White House, when the public has the chance to tour and see all the decorations. The Craig group will perform for three hours. Miller was asked to prepare 45 minutes of music they could perform for the tour groups.

Miller expects they’ll be joined by professional groups.

How did he decide whom to take with him?

“Well, that’s certainly the hardest part of my job,” Miller said.

He was looking for students who could sight read well. That would give them the ability to learn new arrangements quickly.

“We only had time for 10 rehearsals,” Miller said.

All of the students in the choir are juniors and seniors. As seasoned performers, they are more excited than nervous about the opportunity.

“We’re all experienced singers,” said senior Carter Thomas. “But I’m beyond excited."

Thomas is a four-year member of Spotlighters and has performed with his own a cappella group, the Octones.

Sherman was part of the Wisconsin State Honors Choir. She’s also part of the a cappella choir and has performed in musicals. She takes private voice lessons with Traci Schneider.

Sherman, a senior, is interested in attending Northwestern and hopes to double major in biomedical research and music performance.

The trip won’t give the students much time to enjoy Washington, D.C.

The group leaves Monday. Students hope to spend time touring the Smithsonian. On Tuesday, they hope to get a tour of the Capitol with a member of Ryan’s staff. Then they’re off to the White House.

On Wednesday, they’ll leave for home and will arrive in time for their choir concert Wednesday night, Miller said.

The trip is being paid for by donations and money from the school district. Students will have to pay for their own meals.

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